I love this photo… since it includes my elder sister, Mum, Nan, millions of aunts, uncles and cousins … many of whom I can easily name… my elder sister and a few of the cousins are still alive …
I’m not sure I appreciate your tone of slight surprise that members of the family aren’t “pushing up the daisies”, to call in aid a saying you’re probably too young to remember, Stella… I do sometime wish the generation of demob-babies showed a bit more tact in their reference to their seniors… (Sigh)
Fings ain’t wot they used to be
Sadly Peter… you mistake my delight for surprise… but, I’ll forgive you…
Yes, I have clear memories of this when I was very young (5 years old to be precise). There was bunting stretched across the road, our tiny house had a big Union Jack across the front, and our equally tiny garden had small red, white and blue bunches of flowers planted. I had an ‘uncle’ at that time who worked for the Electricity Board and he rigged up lighting.
Of all things and I really have no idea how it came about, but our street had recently been macadamised and kerbstones had been laid for what later became a pavement. They had a bonfire and it caught the tarmac alight, and I clearly remember the Fire engine arriving to put it out - much to the delight of us nippers!
Probably because, we were on the London Blitz bombing route although Slough surprisingly was not a target, but Reading was (I learned this after the War) I have many disjointed memories of the War, which used to astonish my Mother as I grew up and asked what they meant. Of all the sound of the air raid warning stayed with me until my teen years, as it remained in use for the Fire Brigade. It was stopped by public demand as it was distressing for too many people. Even now the sound makes the back of my neck tingle - even watching a film where it is used.
Some things never leave you.
And I’ll let you off, because I know you delight that I’m still alive, and kicking (arse) with the best of 'em
And the sound of the “All Clear” when the bombers had passed over…
I was not born until after WW2… so missed the VE celebrations…
Our family moved to the coast in 51… and from my childhood, I remember the amazing sound which would blast our ears… when the lifeboat crew was needed. I seem to recall being told it was the “air-raid siren” … but that was just words to me at my young age … just words with no conception of what it meant to others…
I see uncle George, far left front row, hit the sherry early
I have musicians in the family… this is them in the “very early days”…
Very Keith Moon
And the unmistakable sound of the V-1 (Doodlebug) pulse jet and the long silence between the engine cutting out and the explosion.
But later there were the supersonic V-2s. If you heard the explosion, they had missed you! I was in hospital having my tonsils removed when they were falling.
OH was born when the last bomb fell on London… jolted his Mum into action…
In 2016 I spent a few months on a German road trip to visit and in some cases revisit places that I’d wanted to see over the years but hadn’t had the time. I’ve always been interested in V2s and Weiner Von Braun. So two places on my list were Mittelwerk where V2s were built and Peenemünde where they were launched.
Both well worth a visit but Peenemünde was like something out of Deliverance, stuck in the middle of nowhere, stuck in time and I suspect they hated foreigners (maybe just English speaking ones). They had the rudest hotel and restaurant staff I’ve ever come across. Made Basil Fawlty seem benign.
I remember reading a description of the space race as a competition between the German scientists the US had captured and the German scientists the USSR had captured. Not far wrong IMO.
The old Nazi/Soviet holiday camp (for good little workers and their families) was also worth a look. They were just starting the refurb when we were there.
It’s a wonder they ever worked, since they were built by expendable slaves. The V-2 is thought to be the only weapon that resulted in more deaths in its manufacture than in its use.
The American offer to Von Braun was one he couldn’t refuse - Work for us or stand trial for war crimes. . . . .
Yes, the conditions in Mittelwerk were particularly horrible. It’s just another example of Governments hypocrisy that the people responsible or at least partially responsible (eg Von Braun) were “pardoned” because of their usefulness.
Just re watching The Battle of Britain.
We can’t appreciate just how bad it was in those times but when you consider the life expectancy of an RAF pilot was about four weeks it confirms how brave these kids were…
Even worse for the Germans. Pilota and crew with minimal training. Sitting ducks. Terrible casualty rate.